I’m a bit undecided on this one.
Chris said something on the latest podcast about the substitutions that Mowbray made on Wednesday, and the fact that these players were brought on and did a job, but at a certain point in the game, and he has a point.
At the moment, does the head coach see some of these lads as bench options because they’re capable of springing us into life and making an impact later in games?
That’s pretty much where Ba has found himself since arriving, but the cameo at Huddersfield was most definitely his most impressive since arriving, and it feels as though he could be on the cusp of a start.
We had a similar discussion earlier in the week about Edouard Michut, and the same logic applies here.
I think we’ll see the best of Ba after the World Cup break, and it’ll be at that stage when Mowbray places more expectation on his shoulders to break into the team and steal a spot for his own.
That said, winning on Wednesday relaxes things a bit and I do wonder if Mowbray might be tempted to hand starts to the likes of Ba and Jewison Bennette over the next two games, to see how they do.
As I said on the match review pod, those central midfield spots are up for grabs at the moment.
Corry Evans starts every game when fit because he’s our captain, but the other slot is there for anyone who wants to take it. We’ve seen Elliot Embleton and Dan Neil basically rotate in that position, but neither of them have been consistent enough in my view, so why not play Ba there on Saturday?
I’m all for it of course, but if he doesn’t start, I understand.
I think there’s a grander plan at play with Ba and a number of the others, and a bit of patience is probably required if we’re going to get the best from him over the long term.
Paddy Hayes says...
On current form, Corry Evans has been our only truly consistent midfielder. Dan Neil has been lacking, which is why Tony Mowbray saw fit to bench him against Huddersfield, and there’s certainly a case to be made for Embleton, but on the evidence of Wednesday night, it’s fair to say that we see the best of him in the number ten position.
Every time Ba steps onto the pitch, he brings energy, flair, technique, and an unrelenting work rate. He’s fearless in possession, and equally so out of it.
Following a big away win, we’ve certainly eased the pressure on ourselves, and have created sufficient distance between us and the drop zone to give us a little breathing space.
Rewarding Ba’s cameo performances would undoubtedly set a good precedent for the youngsters. It would prove that if they come on and play well, starting spots are always up for grabs.
It seems our fans have collectively taken to Ba and his exciting potential.
Playing a Cardiff side with one win in their last five, and who possess the joint lowest scoring record in the league, I think we can afford to be a little more liberal with our selection on Saturday, and give Ba the nod.
Malc Dugdale says...
I think now is the time when Ba gets a bash.
Corry Evans was pretty poor at the weekend- he gave the ball away way too much, and for possibly the first time this season, he seemed to be a square peg in a round hole against Huddersfield.
Ba wasn’t the only substitute who made a real difference, but his skill, composure on the ball, and willingness to fire into a tackle and to really bust a gut for the team was clear for all to see.
These young lads have waited for their chance, and if they show their ability, they earn the right to go again, in my view.
If Mowbray feels that the game against Cardiff requires a different mix in midfield, I will respect that.
The changes he made in West Yorkshire really made a difference, but I’d expect to see Ba given at least half an hour, and I can rest easier knowing that we have both he and Jay Matete as options to quell our foes in the middle of the park if needed.
Well played son, and keep it up!